Leicester Graduate School Hosts 2014 East Midlands Universities Research Student Conference - "Original Perspectives"

The Graduate School hosts conference for the region's research student community.

Irene Zempi Speaking at EMU Conference 2014
Dr Irene Zempi speaking at the 2014 EMU Research Student Conference; Dr Zempi who had completed her PhD earlier in the year spoke of her reflections on the PhD process and offered her own advice for current research students.
Not many academic conferences cover subjects ranging from young mens' perspectives on health to the history of regional productions of Shakespeare's plays or improving ventilation systems in Bangladeshi factories to the links between musicals, social media, and audience engagement. But delegates to this year's East Midlands Universities* Research Student Conference heard papers on these and many other subjects representing the diversity of research being undertaken by the region's postgraduates.

Hosted by the University of Leicester Graduate School, the 2014 Conference was opened by the Graduate Dean, Professor Sarah Hainsworth who noted that the conference's theme of "original perspectives" was doubly appropriate reflecting "the idea of making an original contribution to knowledge, the distinguishing characteristic of a doctoral degree, but also the fact that many of the conference presenters are just starting out as researchers and will go on to contribute their own original voices to the debates and discussions that shape our world and our understanding of it".

Professor Hainsworth explained that the purpose of the conference was to celebrate the range and quality of the research being undertaken by postgraduates across the region, provide the region's research students with the opportunity to come together and form new networks and friendships, and provide a supportive forum in which those research students taking part had the opportunity to gain in confidence as communicators of their research. As well as providing all of the conference's presenters, research students also helped to manage the conference by chairing the individual sessions.

Sally Ann Hartshorne Andreas Anastasiou Deborah Earnshaw
Sally Ann Hartshorne (University of Leicester) who spoke on "A Heritage Moment: Recognising Heritage in the 1960s Planning of Leicester"; Andreas Anastasiou (University of Leicester) who spoke on "The (In)Adequacy of 'News Values' as an Explanation of News Selection"; and Deborah Earnshaw (University of Derby) who spoke on "'Beards are Pretty Masculine': A Membership Categorisation Analysis Exploring Accounts of Masculinity"

See the full list of 2014 Conference Presenters and Session Chairs.

Keynote Address and Research Snapshots

An opening keynote address is a tradition of the conference and one that in previous years has tended to be given by an academic. Last year’s conference hosted by the University of Derby, was opened by Leicester's Dr Jo Appleby who spoke on the discovery of the remains of a certain king. In a change to the format and in keeping with the idea of an event that is by and for research students this year's address was given by a recent PhD graduate, Dr Irene Zempi.

Dr Zempi who completed her PhD at the University of Leicester's Department of Criminology spoke about her own research which looks at islamophobia and the wearing by Muslim women of a full veil. Dr Zempi spoke of the challenges she had faced in completing her degree but also of the rewards she had found both through her research and its ability to inform public policy and practice but also through gaining her doctorate, starting her academic career, and seeing her work published.

Bringing the conference to a close was a "Research Snapshots" competition in which ten research students had the challenge of presenting their research and findings in just three minutes. The competition was extremely close, but after some careful deliberation the winner was announced as Danielle Sinclair (University of Nottingham) with Omolara Okunuga (University of Leicester) as the runner-up.

The conference was organised by Brett Dodgson of The Graduate School and Tania Wilkinson of the Department of Engineering.

* The East Midlands Universities are Bishop Grosseteste University, De Montfort University, University of Derby, University of Leicester, University of Lincoln, Loughborough University, University of Northampton, University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, and The Open University in the East Midlands.

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